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Why Missionary Dating Isn’t a Good Thing

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I’ve had my fair share of being interested in guys who admittedly didn’t follow The Lord, or their relationship with Him was on rocky ground. I even had to turn down someone I had feelings for because God didn’t want me to be with him. This person then told me that if my God didn’t want me to date him, then he didn’t want anything to do with my God.

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You’ll find out pretty quickly what someone’s intentions are once you mention how sold out you are for Jesus—especially when your actions back it up. It is possible that you can invite someone you’re dating to church and they do genuinely accept Jesus and become a Christian, but that’s not a reason to purposely enter into a relationship with an unbeliever.

If you haven’t heard of the term “missionary dating,” let me spell it out for you. This is when a Christian girl dates an unbeliever in hopes that he will convert to Christianity. She believes that if he likes her enough, he’ll come to church and find Jesus so that his life will change drastically for the better. (And of course they ride off into the sunset together.)

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In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, I haven’t found a biblical reason to date without the intent of marriage. That being said, dating to “win over souls for Christ” isn’t something I’ve seen applauded in the Word, either. There are many things that can go wrong when you think you alone have the power to bring someone to Christ by becoming his girlfriend.

Here are a few reasons why missionary dating is not a good thing:

  • It may start off great in the beginning, and the guy you like could be eager to accompany you to Bible study and attend Sunday service. However, is he doing this just to impress you? The thing about dating a guy and asking him to follow Christ with you is that you may never know if his intentions are pure, or if he will drop the act as soon as you say your relationship is over. He could say he’s falling in love with Jesus, only for you to find out later that he’s acting and living the same way he was before and is not bearing any Christ-like qualities.

 

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16)

 

  • You’ve probably heard of the term “unequally yoked,” but that doesn’t only apply to saved versus unsaved. This also has to do with your spiritual maturity. Equally yoked Christians learn, grow and strive together in order to take their relationship with The Lord to a higher level. If the significant other in your life does indeed become a believer, he still will be many levels below you in his walk. This is a problem because most of your energy goes toward pouring into him and not getting spiritually fed in one of your most intimate relationships.
  • “But I followed my heart and it led me to my boyfriend. I know he’s the one!” The world will throw around phrases to make you think feeding your flesh is the best thing you can do to get what you want out of life. According to the Word, that is simply not true. It is very dangerous to be led by your emotions. You may think God wants you in this guy’s life to save him because you have such a connection to him. I promise you if he isn’t in love with Christ, he is not the one. If he is, the Lord will allow you to cross paths again when you have a parallel relationship with God.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

 

  • Accountability is something I think we may take for granted. It’s great to share our triumphs and our shortcomings, but at the end of the day, someone who’s not digging into their Bible will not be able to tell you when you need a spiritual checkup. Most likely, you will lose your moral compass and end up further away from God than you thought possible. Furthermore, if he doesn’t see you the way God sees you, it’s not likely that he will respect your virtue and strive to maintain your purity as a brother in Christ should.
  • You do not have the power to convert anyone. It is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to convict and allow God’s love to penetrate someone’s heart. If you are taking it upon yourself, you are unfortunately deceived to think that by your works he will be saved.

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

Navigating the dating world is difficult, but I hope that by truly digesting this advice, it will help you to avoid some unnecessary trouble that comes with attaching yourself romantically to an unbeliever.

What are your opinions on missionary dating?

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COMMENTS 15

  1. USGIRL95

    Posted by USGIRL95 on February 7, 2017 at 21:07

    don’t do it,. I turned down dates down in the past said no, can’t sorry, I was in my middle teens. than., I was chasing after boys from a young age, that hasn’t changed, at all,
    freaking out bout dating the possiablity, of it, ugh,
    trust me I almost fell in love with an unbeliever few years ago, middle school crush,.
    not sure sec guy was a Christian hard to say he was , again we were teenagers in HS,..
    missnery dating is dangerous, don’t do it,.
    unequal yoked,

  2. quintinagrace

    Posted by quintinagrace on October 31, 2015 at 09:44

    I totally agree. It’s even difficult among Christians to find a man on fire for God. I’ve dated multiple guys who I assume were saved and attended church, but they had no desire to be a spiritual head of a household or even pursue a relationship with God. It doesn’t matter how deep your feelings are for someone, a man without God is a man you can live without. He has someone perfect out there for you and I, we just need to be fully satisfied in Christ and patiently wait for our prince to come.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on November 4, 2015 at 13:35

      “A man without God is a man you can live without.” I love that! You are so right. There are many Christian men and women who are still getting right with God and trying to find their way. Like you said, it’s important to hold out for the right person God has for you. I mean, you only need one! Thank you for your encouraging words.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by Sarah.J on October 31, 2015 at 06:05

    I totally agree with you Kytia! This is the type of article that I have been looking for quite some time now! So thanks so much for taking time to write this article!! So many girls have gone into relationships thinking they would “win” the guy to Christ. But sometimes the guys can become a Christian just for the sake of the girl and dating her. I have made a commitment to date only the person that God sends my way to be my Future Husband. And definitely he would be a man of integrity and a man after God’s own heart! So thanks so much for your well-needed advice on missionary dating!

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on November 4, 2015 at 13:32

      You’re very welcome. I’m honored to be the one to write on a subject that you’ve been waiting to hear about. When I was in high school, I made the same commitment as you and God honored it. Here I am six years into a God-centered marriage, so I know He’ll do the same for you!

  4. Gracy

    Posted by Gracy on October 24, 2015 at 16:51

    I wish I read this article like 8months ago. I just came out from one. We dated for a month,broke up and came back. Now we have agreed to just be friends but during the period we dated I messed myself up, did some crazy and unspeakable things. I have gone so far from Christ that I think He can’t love me again. The worst part is I still miss this person so much, and I can relate with him very well. I feel we were suppose to be friends but we ended up falling for each other for the wrong reasons instead of being friends.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on November 4, 2015 at 13:30

      This happens to a lot of girls, I even had a friendship/crush that lasted years longer than it should. It invaded my thoughts and made it hard to make responsible decisions until I completely cut him out of my life. The Lord will forgive you, please be sure to forgive yourself. After all of the mistakes I’ve made, I’ve still been blessed with an amazing husband and the gift of motherhood. God is faithful.

  5. faithplawman

    Posted by faithplawman on October 20, 2015 at 21:45

    I had my boyfriend before I was saved and after. I had strong earthly feelings for him, and he for me. In an earthly point of view, we were perfect and meant to be. The only couple that was cute AND never fought. But there was one thing. I realized it was just sin sin sin..”earlthy love”..about 8 months ago, things fell apart because I put my foot down, and I honestly hoped to save him, but that was not okay for him. The man that I thought was perfect and that I loved ended up breaking my heart and doing things to crush me and hurt me. God gave me the chance to heal. After 2 months we began hanging out, and we apologized. Well, again, sin sin sin. I wish I had listened to God during the first break up, because my heart is still painfully recovering from my mistakes. We broke up the second time because I had to move to another state. He still tells me he loves me and it breaks my heart. Everyday is a struggle. I do not advise being with an unbeliever. God tells us to wait because our feelings become reserved for that one person!! He is an amazing person inside and out..but there will always be a war between an unbeliever and a believer it seems. I was supposed to give those feelings to my husband, not a man that I had put all my faith into. I know God will heal me in time. He always does..he always will <3

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on November 4, 2015 at 13:27

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing those details. It’s not easy to put our past out there, but I’m praying that your testimony will help those reading it. You have some amazing points that you presented. So much so that I’m having a hard time adding anything to it! Lol. I pray in agreement that the Lord will heal your heart and his.

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by Skipp20 on October 17, 2015 at 22:25

    I understand where you all are coming from on this, but in my family–for multiple generations–we have had so many instances where the woman did bring her man to Christ. For example, two of my great grandmothers met men who didn’t believe or go to church; one was also depressed, severely alcoholic, and lived a wild, sinful life until he met his future wife. And God still brought them together, and used these women to help change their hearts and lives for Him. These beliefs were then passed down through generations, and it’s continuing today. My boyfriend has a very troubled past and very shaky relationship with God, but he’s been growing closer to Him and gaining in faith and spiritual wisdom little by little.

    I would NEVER recommend that girls go out and find themselves a man so they can bring him to Christ, but I’m just saying, God often uses women to soften the hearts of men that they love. All things are possible.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on October 20, 2015 at 15:34

      Thank you for joining the conversation. It is definitely key to be guided by the Holy Spirit when it comes to dating. The Lord can definitely use us to influence others in a mighty way. This article specifically relates to “missionary dating” which is defined as the act of a person of one religious faith, commonly Christianity, dating a person with differing beliefs for the purpose of changing that person’s beliefs or religion. What you are describing sounds more like interfaith dating and marriage. That’s something else altogether, and I’m glad that it turned out positively for your family for generations. Thank you again for sharing.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by townzy1113 on October 10, 2015 at 09:03

    Been there. Done that. It turned out really bad and the guy went off the deep end after I broke up with him because we were involved in sexually impure things. I left the relationship with a broken heart and further away from God than ever before. God restored my purity and showed his unconditional love and mercy; but I will forever carry around the guilt. This post is 100% truth! Thank you for posting this, I needed it!

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on October 20, 2015 at 15:40

      I’m glad to hear that God restored your purity. I’ll be praying for you that The Lord will restore your heart as well so you don’t have the burden of guilt with you. You’ll never be able to change the past, but your future is still bright and your prayers are still effective for the guy that you were with in that relationship with.

  8. soakesie

    Posted by soakesie on October 9, 2015 at 20:02

    My mom once told me that another good reason not to “Missionary Date” is that if they are converted while dating you and it doesn’t work out, a breakup could push them away from God and they could harbor anger and resentment towards God because they are not yet spiritually mature and don’t yet understand it all. This anger and resentment could be a lifelong wall put up between he and God, making it harder for him to come to Christ later in life, whereas if the girl had just left it alone and not missionary dated, he may have come to God sooner in life.

    • Kytia Lamour

      Posted by Kytia Lamour on October 20, 2015 at 15:42

      I’m glad you brought up that point because I almost included it in this article. Your mother sounds like a wise woman. Thank you so much for sharing!